chilli dark chocolate bark

When one really takes time to delve into all things festive it quickly becomes clear that it is unlikely that there will ever be an end to Christmastime culinary possibility. In fact, it turns out that it’s dreadfully difficult to keep one’s blog up-to-date with all that is being produced. The weather is the entity most at fault here, but what can one do? It’s difficult to castigate the weather – it makes a mockery of us all.

Following on from my recent monologue regarding presents and the meaning of Christmas, a little gifting advice may be necessary. For those of you that weren’t aware, chocolate is always a safe bet – is there anyone who doesn’t covet one form of chocolate or another? It is in this spirit that I bring you my recipe for chilli and nutmeg dark chocolate bark; it is both frugal and spectacularly delicious. Perhaps this is one case in which the old adage ‘his bark is worse than his bite’ isn’t entirely watertight. Someone get me a muzzle.

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Christmas Spiced Biscuits (5)

If there’s one time of the year at which biscuits should be made and eaten in prodigious quantity, it is at Christmas. There’s something clean and joyful about a proper English biscuit that makes them a smidge more festive than, to give one example, a cookie. It’s far easier to pick out individual flavours in biscuits than in food that is excessively sugary – a cookie, for instance, is something of a devilish experience.

Not only are biscuits rather light on one’s stomach, they are also one of the more frugal bakes one can embark upon. Of course, this is largely due to the dearth of expensive superlatives, such as chocolate, that are often added to cookies or cake. Instead, biscuits are often left plain or flavoured with spices or citrus fruits – as is the case in this recipe. Indeed, if the spiciness of these biscuits doesn’t appeal to you, by all means leave them plain – they will still be thoroughly delicious. Though, of course, such a thing wouldn’t be entirely in the spirit of Christmas!

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frugal living, healthy meals, vegan, dairy free

Potatoes are and always will rank amongst my favourite vegetables. The humble spud is flavoursome, versatile and about as frugal as it is possible to be. However, in some ways sweet potatoes are superior to traditional tatties. Indeed, one of their most endearing qualities, if a vegetable can be endearing, is that their texture is naturally more buttery and pleasant than that of one’s average tater, whatever the variety. The benefit of this is that sweet potatoes mash incredibly well, without the need of a plethora of dairy products. Even without butter or milk, this mash manages to delicately caress one’s tongue – to me it seems like pure madness that some similar recipes insist on incorporating double cream! Then again, this is a place for the frugal, so that would have to be my reaction!

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onion, chives, frugal, thrifty

I am not a vegan by any stretch of even the most delusional lunatic’s imagination. It’s difficult to admit it to you guys, but I covet all things animal. However, it would be unfair to describe me as an ‘average meat eater’ – meat finds its sordid way onto my menu once, maybe twice, per week. After all, meat can be both healthy and expensive; my diet naturally contains a good proportion of vegan and vegetarian food. It seems to me amongst the various communities of meat eaters there is a lot of negativity directed towards veganism. Though it is often true that I don’t entirely agree or understand why people ‘turn’ vegan, you won’t encounter any such negativity here. I’m perfectly cognisant of the fact vegan food can taste just as good as that which contains meat or dairy, sometimes more so. Indeed, I feel privileged to be, for the first time, part of the Virtual Vegan Potluck.

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Sweet Potato and Almond Curry Recipe

If you’re ever in Bristol there’s a local chain of authentic curry houses you simply must visit. The Thali Café has rather high praise and one of its current specials was my main source of inspiration for this Sweet Potato and Almond Curry recipe. Armed with the knowledge that the curry contained cream, ground almonds and cardamom I set about my business…

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